Bushwick Bill, long recognized for his classic work with the Geto Boys, is slated to return with what many of his fans will consider to be his most shocking album to date.
This musical chapter of Bushwick’s life will see him send his “Chucky” AKA “Chuckwick” persona to his final resting place. His upcoming release, “Testimony Of Redemption,” is a skillfully crafted work, intersecting deep spirituality and reality rap.
Bushwick’s life has been both one of the most highly publicized and unusual in hiphop, landing him a spot on “Vh1’s Hiphop 30” and “Vh1’s Most Shocking Moments In Rock.” Bill, who was born in the country of Jamaica as Richard Shaw, is set to release his entirely autobiographical album, “Testimony Of Redemption” later this year. He calls it a gospel hiphop rap album, and from beginning to end, its messages are as hard as the tablets that Moses slammed down in the desert.
Using the Isaac Hayes sample, “Hung Up On My Baby,” which was the foundation of the Geto Boys platinum song “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” Bushwick’s track “Renewed Mind” offers new revelations—not just from Bill, himself, but revelations from the Bible. Discussing his new mindset expressed in the upcoming album, Bill raps, “Well, it’s a new year with my past behind, No more playing tricks on my renewed mind, Geto Boys is the crew where I claimed my fame. Much respect to them, but I gotta push Christ’s name.” Although Bushwick may be holding an exorcism on Chuckwick, the song clearly warns, “Don’t take me for a person who’s too religious, I didn’t come to separate the sinners from the Christians.” Bushwick says is not here to judge, but to offer an alternative point of view for fans and fellow rappers alike to ponder.
Because the Houston, Texas based recording artist has so much to say, he has already recorded more than twenty unpredictable tracks on the album. Bill is currently taking offers from both labels and distributors.
In the song’s lyrics, Bushwick acknowledges his wild past, and concedes, “To have longevity in the rap game is kind of hard, but I’m still here rockin’ the mic, and praise God. ‘Cause I should have been knocked off with all I did.” This admission is clearly a lyrical departure from his past works. The album proves Bushwick’s diversity, and his ability to make listeners think. Bill stands tall with his unexpected messages he brings, as he raps, “You can say it won’t sell with a message in it. I say it’s all hell if Christ ain’t in it.” Bill’s rhymes offer a lot of advice, and he urges, “If your mind’s playing tricks on you, follow Me, while I take you through my life and my testimony. Everybody want to know if Bushwick’s for real. Keep watching, you’ll see, I ain’t poppin no pills.” Bushwick not popping pills you ask? Unbelievers and naysayers will surely change their mind by the time they hear the rest of the album.
During the discs’s outspoken title track, Bushwick raps, “I met a man who say he’s about to make me a rap superstar. The rest is history, peep the next sixteen bars. I’ve seen the fame, seen the fortune, but felt nothing inside, to seeing clearly now, ‘cause I’m walking with Christ.”
After an in-depth, graphic rap about his eye being shot out, he raps, “I’m trading Chuckwick then into being a Jesus freak,” and “Kanye gets more press for talking about Bush than Jesus.” He comments that this is his own path he has chosen for himself, explaining, “Now I ain’t trippin. I know rappers have to make it out the hood, and if rap can keep you from crime, and keeps your family, good. I can’t knock a man’s hustle, but the problem is when we fraud, when we make these albums full of sin, and then we thanking God.”
In “Spiritual Warfare,” Bushwick spits, “For Christ you will ride, for him you will never die,” as he points out “how many fell victims to pipe dreams.”
Bushwick, who countless times has been labelled “sexist and misogynist,” also comes through with the song “Praise Of A Good Woman,” in which he raps, “I used to look at a woman with a “B” in front of the itch, but my mind had a glitch in it, got a Holy Spirit fix, then God put a stitch in it, away, then I became a man, and put away childish things.” Your mind’s not playing tricks on you. This is for real.
Tired of the divisions in hiophop, Bill makes a stand on the track “God’s Side Is The Best Side,” where he rhymes, “I ain’t gotta be drunk off Kris, I’m drunk off this, rippin’ it raw. Ain’t no North, South, East or the West side. Ain’t no Bloods, no Crips where I’m from, just the blood of Jesus, believe it son.” Bushwick says that what he’s talking about are many of the things that weaker rappers have been thinking about, but their record labels have not wanted them to. This is Bill’s first album working with George Uscanga’s G-Spot Productions.
Bushwick pulls out “The Thorn In My Side” with partner in rhyme, Tray Nine, rapping, “And we all fall short, body’s cursed from birth. That’s a lame excuse for Bushwick, it won’t work.” A song about controlling anger, he spits, “But the wise hold it back, Proverbs twenty-nine eleven, you can go cop that, better yet, I’ll adopt that, ‘cause I need it the most. Lord pull this thorn from me, fill me with your Holy Ghost.”
Throughout the album, Bill spits Bible verses, showing his vast knowledge of the Word, and it is good. He points his always accessible Glock at Satan on “Pull The Trigger On The Demon,” a song that will make other rappers think twice. “You’re killing the South, rap about something realer than the grill in your mouth,” he challenges MC’s. Those are fighting words. However, Bill says he is not dissing other rappers, he is dissing the Devil.
Bushwick is one rapper who has seen it all. Born in Jamaica, he lived in Brooklyn, and in Houston, where he first found fame with his Rap-A-Lot label mates Scarface and Willie D. The Geto Boys have stirred controversy many times, including once when recording their now legendary St. Ides commercial, a campaign that promoted buying forty-ounce bottles of alcohol.
Bushwick has had more public controversies than most other rappers, two of which have included engaging in a dis war with Sen. Bob Dole during his candidacy for President, and having the ending his “Ever So Clear” music video, during which he removed his glass eye and dropped it into a glass of Everclear, banned by MTV.
Having been a heavy drinker for many years, Bill may know all about spirits, but prior to that, he had also learned a lot about the Holy Spirit. Bushwick attended Bible college, intending to become a minister, but instead, he was discovered by DJ extraordinaire Lonnie Mac when he was dancing at Flames. In 1987, he was encouraged by Ready Red, who was signed to Rap-A-Lot, to start rapping. Bill eventually became a member of the platinum and gold selling Geto Boys, executive produced by James Prince, owner of Rap-A-Lot Records. Although Bill was on the cover of the Geto Boys’ 1986 release, “Making Trouble,” he didn’t rap on an a Geto Boys record until the 1989 release, “Grip It On The Other Level.” Their 1990 self-titled release generated national controversy, with just one of the reasons being that Geffen Records announced that it refused to manufacture or release the album, due to its lyrical content, which led famed producer Rick Rubin to move his record label to Warner Brothers. One of Bushwick’s most recognized lyrics is, “This year, Halloween fell on a weekend,” from the hiphop classic, “Mind Playing Tricks” from the Geto Boys 1991 release, “We Can’t Be Stopped.” Now, instead of haunting the streets, Bushwick is working on being a blessing in your ipod. He also appeared on the 1993 Geto Boys albums ” “Till Death Do Us Part,” 1996’s “The Resurrection,” and 2005’s “The Foundation.” I n addition to his work on discs by the Geto Boys, Bushwick, whose solo albums have included “Phantom Of The Rapra,” “Little Big Man,” and “No Surrender, No Retreat,”Bushwick is the only artist to have appeared on Dr. Dre’s quintessential work, “The Chronic,” who was not on Death Row Records.
On “I Know What You Might Think,” Bushwick chimes like a bell in a church tower, as he proclaims, “But without Christ you got no real happiness, only God can make you better, not Ne-Yo or Fabulous.” Bill raps, “I might sit on Letterman to make my salary grow, or kick back, let Vh1 do my reality show. This the true flavor of love, straight from above, Jesus Christ the king, and Satan a scrub. You might see me on “Dubs.”
His upcoming release will feature his first metal track “No More Childish Play” on the album, as well.